Saturday, November 21, 2015

Practice in Heaven? (A Tribute)

For the past two days, I have been contemplating whether or not musicians have to practice in heaven.  For real.

Yesterday, around 11:15am, my grandma, beloved by so many, kissed her life on earth goodbye and went to heaven.  I have no doubt whatsoever that she is in heaven.  She's been a faithful follower of Christ her entire life.  And what a beautiful life she lived.

(This is a picture a picture, but one of my favorites of Nanny and me from my wedding day.)

Next week will be her 86th birthday. Of her 86 years of life on earth, my dad guesstimated that she played piano for 75 years.

Now, if there's one thing I know about my Nanny, it's that she was a great piano player.  She was never afraid of the challenging pieces and always practiced more than anyone I know and made lots of notes in pencil on her music.  If it's any indication of how much she loved music, up until a few weeks ago, she still taught piano lessons and took them herself.

I am the woman I am today in part because of her.  There are so many traits about my Nanny that I try to emulate on a daily basis, such as her zest for life, her courageousness, and her frugality, but it thrills me the most that we both share such a passion for music.

I haven't always enjoyed practicing my music.  But, now knowing that she's in heaven, I feel like practicing will be a little less of a chore for me and a little more of a reminder of my grandma and her love of music.

And so, I wonder if she has to practice in heaven.  Because you can't convince me otherwise that she is the piano player for heaven's choir.  I wonder if the music played and sung in keys nonexistent here on earth just come naturally.  Or if she still takes a moment (whatever that equates to in heaven) to go through the celestial score in front of her.

I miss you, Nanny.  I will keep your music alive here on earth, and I will think of you each time I sit down at my own piano.  I hope to join you in a heavenly duet someday.

(A picture of my Nanny's piano where she practiced daily for many years of her life.  I will especially miss her signature style of playing those ivories.)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Little Blessings

Time for a little honesty:  there are days, even seasons of my life when I wonder if what I do makes any kind of difference to anyone.  Sometimes I question why I had to fall in love with music and writing instead of, say, brain surgery.  Music is so subjective; everyone has their own preference and feelings about what they like and why.

Still, music is my thing.  It is the thing that I will do if I never make a cent from it, just because I have to make music.  But sometimes it can get discouraging when you feel that no one even cares to hear it.

I was having one of those pity-party days last week as I was working at my elementary school job.  Thinking to myself, "What if I take all the time and effort to create this music that no one cares to hear?"  It was about that time, my 3rd grade class arrived for their lesson.  As I greeted them at the door, one precious girl stopped and handed me a bracelet.  "I made this for you, Mrs. King."  The bracelet has white round beads with a silver treble clef charm.  It's lovely.

After exclaiming my excitement over the gift (because, I don't care what it is, all teachers love getting gifts from their students), I asked her if she really did make it.  She said yes.  I put it on and wore it the rest of the day.

Ok, so maybe millions of people won't be inspired and touched by my music, but that little girl was.  Even if she's only heard me sing silly songs.  My music impacted her enough to think of me when she crafted a beautiful personalized gift.

The lesson is this: whatever you're doing, whether big or small, matters to someone.  Keep doing it.  Keep writing, even if you think no one reads.  Keep making music, even if you think no one hears.  Keep playing ball, even if you think no one cheers.  I think you'll find that someone is, in fact, paying attention.  Do it for them.  And do it because you can't not do it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

New Opportunities

What a year it's been!  And it's not quite over yet.

If you had told me back in January all of the opportunities I would get with my music this year, I wouldn't have believed you.  It all started when I decided upon my motto for the year: "Make Something Happen".  You see, each year, I come up with a theme or motto to base my entire year around.  This year, those three little words kept coming back to me, so I decided to let them frame everything that happened in my life for the next 12 months.

Then came the song, "Make Something Happen".  Initially, I was irritated when I woke up singing the chorus and the bridge that I either dreamed or composed in my sleep.  When I looked at the clock, it read 5:30am and I had 40 minutes left to sleep.  The last thing I wanted to do was leave the comfort of my warm bed to go work on a song.

Still, I grabbed my phone, trudged dreary-eyed to the bathroom, shut the door so I wouldn't wake up my one-year old son, and hit record on my phone.

A few days later, I put some verses and chords to the chorus and bridge, and I had a song.

The song inspired the project, and fast-forward 11 months, and I am getting ready to release a 5-song album to the world entitled Make Something Happen.  I am really pleased with how this project turned out and am so excited to release it soon.

This week, I'll be traveling to Nashville for the 4th time this year to discuss some exciting music business opportunities.  What a whirlwind, landmark year it's been!  I wouldn't have it any other way!

(Doing some tracking for my project, Make Something Happen, right on Music Row in beautiful Nashville, TN)